What is a hydraulic pump?
A type of positive displacement pumps used to pressurize fluid to do work by operating pistons in the hydraulic system. There are many different types, including gear pumps, vane pumps, screw pumps, piston pumps and plunger pumps. Although hydraulic pumps are among the simplest types of equipment, many can create extremely high pressure. This makes them useful in many commercial and industrial applications.
How do they work?
While each type operates according to unique principles, the basic idea is the same: the pump uses a direct application of force to a movable volume of liquid (in this case, hydraulic fluid), to squeeze the hydraulic fluid and pressurize it. Here is the general process.
- The hydraulic fluid is first drawn into the pump chamber by the moving gears, vanes, screws, pistons, or plungers in the pump.
- The moving parts then contract the pumping chamber to build up pressure as the hydraulic fluid moves through and exits the pump.
- The high pressure hydraulic fluid that exits the pump is then used to do work.
Hydraulic pumps often contain built-in pressure relief valves to protect the pump and the system in the event that a valve in the discharge piping is inadvertently closed. Sometimes the hydraulic system is further protected by an external relief valve.
Because the system is a closed system, the hydraulic fluid is generally clean, and makes an excellent lubricant. But, depending on the nature of the work, the hydraulic pumps must often produce several thousand psi of pressure, so they need to be robust enough to generate and safely maintain these high pressures.
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